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Old 04-21-2016, 04:10 PM
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2m Antenna - Good all around choice?

Hi everyone, first time poster here. I'm looking to install a ham radio in my JKU, and have looked at a lot of different antennas. I'm looking for one that will be serviceable on and off road, but will also fit in my garage and not get destroyed while wheeling. I realize that there is a compromise between height and performance, but are there any decent choices out there that might work out for these needs? Thanks!

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Old 04-21-2016, 06:02 PM   #2
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Probably of greater importance is the mount for the antenna. That will dictate how high the antenna sticks up. I mounted my 2m/70cm antenna (same length as a 2 meter antenna) on the driver's side fender. It is only a little taller that the roof of the Jeep. si

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Old 04-21-2016, 08:37 PM   #3
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I run a little short stubby 2m antenna and it works fine no matter where I go since there are so many repeaters everywhere. It works fine on simplex too when in a large Jeep group. I have a larger Hustler SF-2 5/8 wave 2m antenna if the little one doesn't work but so far, there's only one event I attend that needs the larger 5/8 since it's spread out over high desert with lots of mountains scattered around.

The little antenna cost me all of $9 and I got it from http://www.ebay.com/itm/Workman-DB-1...wAAOSwZQxW5JB6
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Old 04-21-2016, 09:40 PM   #4
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When you are taking to repeaters then the type of antenna does not matter as much since the repeaters all have very high gain recievers and are placed high up of the ground.

When you want to do simplex offroad and care about distance then the antenna becomes critical. I use a Comet CA-2x4SR with the spring when offroad, but that's too tall in my driver's side hood mount for the company garage.

I use a shorter antenna around town so that it fits in the garage.
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Old 04-22-2016, 12:02 AM   #5
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When you are taking to repeaters then the type of antenna does not matter as much since the repeaters all have very high gain recievers and are placed high up of the ground.
Kind of. A high gain with a compressed take off angle won't work so well in mountainous terrain, conversly it's the cats meow out on the great plaines.
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Old 04-22-2016, 04:54 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geodude View Post
Hi everyone, first time poster here. I'm looking to install a ham radio in my JKU, and have looked at a lot of different antennas. I'm looking for one that will be serviceable on and off road, but will also fit in my garage and not get destroyed while wheeling. I realize that there is a compromise between height and performance, but are there any decent choices out there that might work out for these needs? Thanks!
My two favorite antennas are;

Larsen NMO-2/70 (34" dual band) LARSEN NMO-2/70B Black LARSEN NMO270BBlack Antenna Mobile Dual Band 2m-70cm

Diamond NR-72BNMO (14" dual band) DIAMOND NR-72BNMO DIAMOND NR72BNMO Antenna Mobile Dual Band 2m-70cm

The overall height and performance of the antenna really depends on the mounting location. Both of these work well with a front mount. They will both work well on a rear mount as long as the mount and antenna are not between the spare tire and the tailgate.

For around town I like the front mount as it gives the best performance (at least on my set-up). The rear mount is best for the trails (less likely to hit brush).
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Old 04-22-2016, 07:17 PM   #7
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I use this one on my truck: Comet SBB-1 - Amateur Electronic Supply

It's short enough to drive in and out of my garage with 7' tall door opening and performs fairly well. It has taken a beating for 9 years and still works.
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Old 04-22-2016, 11:28 PM
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Thanks everyone, this is all very helpful. Lots to think about here! I should be ok with a shorter antenna, as there are a lot of repeaters around my area. I didn't even think of that. I'm leaning towards mounting it on a driver side hood mount as well.

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Old 04-23-2016, 08:21 AM
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Thanks! Just curious - what/where is your mount?
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Old 04-23-2016, 08:23 AM
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Thanks! Just curious - what/where is your mount?
Yikes, I need some coffee. ^^^This was supposed to be directed at Jerry.
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Old 04-23-2016, 09:04 AM   #11
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The Larsen antennas are some of the toughest. Diamond and Comet make nice stuff, but it's a bit more temperamental. I have at least one of each.

You might also consider a 2m/70cm dual band antenna in case you think you might ever add a dual band radio.

Fortunately, for 2m a "big" antenna isn't anywhere near as large as 10m or CB, so size is much less of a concern. A full size 1/4 wave is (obviously) only 0.5 meters or so.

As others have mentioned, mounting is often the bigger question/challenge. If you can mount higher so the antenna is above the body tub, performance will be improved.
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Old 04-23-2016, 12:34 PM   #12
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Quote:
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When you are taking to repeaters then the type of antenna does not matter as much since the repeaters all have very high gain recievers and are placed high up of the ground.
Quote:
Originally Posted by redneckdan View Post
Kind of. A high gain with a compressed take off angle won't work so well in mountainous terrain, conversly it's the cats meow out on the great plaines.
Redneckdan is correct--the shorter antenna's radiation pattern is supposedly better in mountainous terrain, while the taller antenna's radiation pattern is supposedly superior in flat areas. Why do I say supposedly? Because for me here in mountainous Utah, my own side-by-side testing has shown better performance with the taller design compared to the shorter ones. This is why I now recommend a taller antenna--specifically, the Larsen NMO2/70B--to virtually everybody.

In numerous online reviews and resources, I have seen the Larsen NMO2/70B referred to as a reference antenna. It is the standard by which any other 2m or dual-band antenna can be judged. I've had numerous experiences where my mobile ham radio was able to make contacts that other operators could not, and I give much of the credit to this fabulous antenna. Can a smaller, cheaper antenna (such as my former Tram 1181) work? Sure. Will it work as well as the NMO2/70B? Not remotely, based on my own real-world experiences.

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I'm leaning towards mounting it on a driver side hood mount as well.
For a topless, trunkless vehicle such as a Jeep, this is pretty much your best option. Having a TJ, I mounted my antenna directly to the fender itself.



For a JK, you'll need a fender bracket.

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You might also consider a 2m/70cm dual band antenna in case you think you might ever add a dual band radio.
This is also excellent advice.
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Old 04-24-2016, 10:11 PM   #13
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I use a Diamond K400C trunk/lip mount along with a Comet CA-2X4SR. The antenna is mounted on the drivers side of the hood about 12 inches from the windshield. It is necessary to use a grinding tool to remove a small strip of paint on the inside of the hood. I was able to drive into my garage with the antenna on before I installed the RK 2.5" X-Factor. I knew I wouldn't be able to after the lift, but sometimes you can't have it all.The setup has not failed or broken through some pretty rough off-road terrain.

The antenna is highly rated:
Comet CA-2x4SR Product Reviews

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Old 04-25-2016, 04:54 PM   #14
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I used this one and drilled it out for an NMO mount.

AUJ1 Fender Mount for 2007+ Wrangler Jeeps | CB World
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Old 04-25-2016, 07:08 PM   #15
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Yikes, I need some coffee. ^^^This was supposed to be directed at Jerry.
Here's mine mounted on the spare tire carrier. It screws into a standard 3/8x24 antenna mount, as simple as they come. It works so well that I rarely replace it with my larger 5/8 wave Hustler FS-2 antenna.
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Old 04-30-2016, 02:55 AM   #16
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I use this Diamond Antenna Dual-Band Mobile Antennas NR770HB - Free Shipping on Most Orders Over $99 at DX Engineering mounted to a mount I made that attaches to the back of the 3rd brake light. Folds over for parking decks and garages. The no ground plane design lets me get the antenna up as free and clear as possible. (Then I also have a small dual band antenna for trail use)
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Old 04-30-2016, 04:16 AM   #17
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NGP (no groundplane) antennas are, at best, poorly performing compromise antennas that should never be used except on vehicles without good groundplanes. Like fiberglass or wooden boats, fiberglass cars, etc.

Jeeps have excellent groundplanes, take advantage of it and use a conventional antenna. You'll gain significantly better performance.
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Old 04-30-2016, 12:12 PM   #18
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The SWR is 1.3:1 and it's no better or worse than a similar mobile with a ground plane that's attached to my camper.
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Old 04-30-2016, 01:25 PM   #19
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The SWR is 1.3:1 and it's no better or worse than a similar mobile with a ground plane that's attached to my camper.
Its SWR has nothing to do with what I was describing. I'm talking about its ability to get the signal out... NGP antennas just don't have nearly the performance that a traditional groundplane antenna has. A poorly performing antenna could have a 1.0:1 SWR yet still be a poorly performing antenna. NGP antennas are the right choice only when you have no other choice. Jeeps have a very good groundplane available for use, make use of it by using an antenna that is designed to take advantage of it.

http://www.firestik.com/Tech_Docs/GP-or-NGP.htm

In short, a NGP antenna is the only choice for a wooden or fiberglass boat, fiberglass RV, etc. but it's a very poor choice for a Jeep.
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Old 05-01-2016, 09:05 AM   #20
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And like I stated, it's no better or worse when tested against a comparable ground plane antenna.
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Old 05-01-2016, 12:08 PM   #21
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And like I stated, it's no better or worse when tested against a comparable ground plane antenna.
If you're happy with it, that's all that counts. Rest assured though that it's not performing nearly as well as a 'comparable ground plane antenna' would.
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Old 05-05-2016, 07:47 AM   #22
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I have 2 Jeeps an 08 unlimited and a 14 Rubicon unlimited, both have ham and business band radios in them. I'm in the coastal bend area of Texas and in my area we talk a lot of 2m simplex, very seldom use a repeater, we are also pretty spread out. After going through Numerous antennas and setups in these two Jeeps as well as those I have had in the past I think I finally have the 2014 setup where it works the best so far. I use the Arizona Rocky Road antenna mount above the rear tire, I have found 3 different antennas that get me the best 2m simplex coverage two are actually dual band ,one mono. I use the yaesu FT-2900 in the jeep with 75 watts, and have a 165 watt amp that I use at times but not all the time. All but one of our group use this radio at home and mobile.
The first is the Diamond SG 7500NMO, it is the shortest on the three antennas I use
and still does well simplex, I usually have this antenna on when I know I will be leaving the area where our ranch is and heading into a non rural area, Daily base to mobile 20 to 35 miles simplex not a problem, with 15-20 mobile to mobile, but not crystal clear.
The next is a monoband, the Diamond NR-22L . This one is long, around 98 inches,
and it is my daily use antenna when I know I am going to be around the ranch or just in the local area. It has a uhf type mount ( don't like them but all it comes with) so I use a good adapter to NMO, and it goes on the same mount above the spare. With this antenna I'm told my signal goes up 2 -3 bars on a ft 2900 meter, to the same 20 to 35 mile distant bases. Mobile to mobile I have a solid signal out to 22 miles under all but really bad conditions. This antenna also gets a signal thru better in lower areas and around trees and heavy brush than the other mentioned.
The third ,and the latest antenna that I am trying is the Larsen 2/70 , only had it back there a week and it is doing pretty well. Not quite as good as the long diamond, but seems to be adequate for daily use, and it will hold up Very well just because of it's design. I won't fear tree limbs etc as much using it for sure. As I spend more time using it I will revise the report .
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Old 05-05-2016, 07:55 AM   #23
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I need to add that I have had HF radios in these Jeeps before, so I have bonding straps on pretty much everything, and I'm sure it does help with the 2m antenna mount and location I use
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Old 05-06-2016, 07:10 PM   #24
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Had a chance about 10am this morning to do a comparison test between the Diamond SG7500NMO,and the Larsen 2/70 NMO antennas. with the Jeep running sitting on a road in a large open field , talking to two base stations one 18.7 miles air miles from me , the second 28.3 air miles from me, on 147.430 simplex, conditions barely average for that time of day in this area, all three stations using FT-2900 radios. The bases both had GP-9 antennas with their base at 35ft AGL both are located along the coast
First was with the Larsen, signal report from closest station 2 bars showing on the 2900, audio was readable but had some scratch . Other station no bars showing audio scratchy but readable. I was able to hear both stations crystal clear on audio and both with 5 bars showing.

We repeated the test the same way but with the SG 7500NMO.

Closest station reported meter 6 bars and very clear audio, other station reported 4 bars and very clear audio. I heard both stations very clearly with strong audio and 9 bars on signal meter.

I didn't test the NR-22L because we Know how well it works and it is on the Jeep the most. But after this morning I Also know the Larson will not be on the jeep as my go to out of area antenna.
We were all kinds surprised by the difference between the two antennas. Maybe on a different vehicle the Larsen would have done better, and of course if had done a repeater only test instead of simplex ,The difference most likely would not have been noticed.
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Old 05-26-2016, 12:13 PM   #25
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Here's mine mounted on the spare tire carrier. It screws into a standard 3/8x24 antenna mount, as simple as they come. It works so well that I rarely replace it with my larger 5/8 wave Hustler FS-2 antenna.
Interested in this mounting. I put the OR-FAB dual RotoPax carrier on the back of my JKUR. It has (very conveniently) two holes, I'd guess are about 5/8" diameter, but I'll need to measure (when I'm not running around like a chicken with my head cut off) Looking to install a 2m/70cm dual band on the side away from plate and something for HF on the license plate side.

What cable did you run for your VHF/UHF? I've heard people say avoid RG58 for that range.
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Old 05-26-2016, 12:21 PM   #26
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RG58 is fine and is what I use for both my 2m and ham radios. The run distance in a Jeep is not nearly long enough for RG8x to be of any significant benefit.
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Old 06-15-2016, 12:06 PM   #27
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Following up (possibly fowling up, too ) I have the Rocky AZ rear mount, Larsen 2/70sh, Larsen NMO mount with RG58 and various connectors on order.

Also, getting an SWR meter. Rather vexed with Amazon as some sellers are in China and there's no mention of where things ship from - sometimes stuff arrives quick, sometimes a month later.

At the least I expect to be able to mount up the antenna in a week and try it out, without SWR check. Hope it works out well enough for trail.

A 19 inch whip on the back is preferable for off-roading, to a whip on the front, since I'm more likely to hit branches and such near the front fenders than middle of the back. I'll post pics when I can.
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Old 06-15-2016, 01:34 PM   #28
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Make sure the SWR meter you buy is for VHF/UHF frequencies. Most of the inexpensive SWR meters are meant for CB frequencies which of course are HF.
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Old 06-16-2016, 10:24 AM   #29
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Make sure the SWR meter you buy is for VHF/UHF frequencies. Most of the inexpensive SWR meters are meant for CB frequencies which of course are HF.
That was a given. I left an HF one back in Michigan, at my parents house. Maybe pick that up some day on a trip back there.
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Old 07-03-2016, 03:30 PM   #30
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I'm sorry but I'm not intending to hijack this thread and would truly understand if you recommend I should start a new one.

Has anyone seen or know of any Roll Bar antenna mount? I was thinking of having one on the rRoll Bar for when I'm in trail, which is mostly flat.

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